On behalf of European employers and providers of public services, Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, and Joseph Farrugia, CEO of the Malta Employers’ Associations (MEA), addressed the Tripartite Social Summit, co-chaired by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico. Emphasising the central role of public services in the European society, Ms Ronzitti suggested 3 avenues to put the EU back on track, support economic growth, facilitate social improvements and reduce inequalities.
1. “Remove the sense of alienation, re-define the concept of protection and security EU citizens are asking for, stop with do-goodism and politically correct speeches, as the first steps to counteract those who see Europe as a “necessary evil” and “not a common good”.” In this respect, Mr Farrugia presented the Maltese example, where his organisation broadcast a TV programme communicating on Europe and the contribution of social dialogue to the EU project.
2. “Continue necessary structural reforms and negotiate them as much as possible to ensure that they are a unifying factor. This implies for Governments to sit together with employers and trade unions to design and implement them. This point was one of the key elements of the recent statement “A New Start for Social Dialogue” (signed by the European Commission, the European Council, employers’ organisations and trade unions).”
3. “Invest, invest, invest. CEEP will support all initiatives aiming at ensuring additional investments for long-term growth prospects. This is crucial for our members who reported in our Autumn Pulse of Pulse Services that budget cuts as well as administrative and regulatory burden remain their biggest obstacle invest.
We welcome the empowerment of the EFSI and its new arm to support the EU external policy, as expressed in the Social Partners’ statement on the table today.
But EFSI alone will not be enough. The first phase proved unsuccessful to address the lack of investments in social infrastructures. EFSI is still meant to attract mainly – if not exclusively – private investors whose appetite to invest in social infrastructures – not only schools and hospitals, but rather skills and health – is limited.
To significantly increase those investments Member States need to finally use to full extent the flexibility built-in the Stability and Growth Pact. Moreover an honest and non-dogmatic reflection need to be launched by at EU level on whether the Stability and Growth Pact is still fit for purpose.”